Interning with Tony Stark

I am Iron Man

I came across a new blog recently, The Savvy Intern, at youtern.com. The site focuses on helping people find internships, which they believe are essential for getting a job, especially if you are just entering the workforce. And why not? Interning is a form of networking, which I believe is essential to finding “the right job” if having a job is what you want right now. But I digress…

One of their bloggers, ComeRecommended, offered a playful article called “8 Leadership Lessons We Learned from Tony Stark (aka: Iron Man)“. I love this thoughtful and playful look at being a leader. Here they are:

  1. Choose your mission – don’t just pick a mission, find one worthy of you
  2. Stick by your mission – things will get rough, but see it through; after all, it is worthy of you
  3. Be socially responsible – Our highest calling is to serve others, even when things get tough
  4. Always improve – Don’t get complacent, always seek to expand your vision and make yourself grow
  5. Isolate yourself occasionally – doing is important, but we cannot find creative solutions if we do not give ourself space and time to just think
  6. Have a good team – even a genius cannot be everywhere at once; you need a team to get anything great done
  7. Be transparent – people will follow someone who is authentic; hiding things does not engender the trust needed to build a great team
  8. Enjoy yourself – keeping things light helps you reduce tension, and encourages those around you to give their best

If you are an Iron Man fan, check out the article; you will probably enjoy the Tony Stark graphics…

8 Leadership Lessons We Learned from Tony Stark (aka: Iron Man) on the Savvy Intern blog

Roles and Styles for Entrepreneurial Leadership

Do you realize that it takes many roles to succeed in an enterprise? Small businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises need leaders of all types. One of my mentors when I began management consulting taught me that leadership is not a position, rather it is a role. Therefore many types of people can be leaders. In fact, it is vital to have a variety of roles involved in a growing enterprise.

Martin Zwilling, an angel investor and entrepreneurial mentor shared some thoughts recently on a blog shared at entrepreneur.com. Talking about a book he read, Intelligent Leadership by John Mattone, Martin shared that you need to bring a variety of key roles onto your team. Here are 9:

  1. Helpers – those who want to guide others so that the team can succeed
  2. Entertainers – those who want to engage and win people over to a cause
  3. Artists – those who create and innovate
  4. Thinkers – those who analyze and study the world around them
  5. Disciples – those who work well with others, but need permission to act
  6. Activists – those who promote a positive vision and encourage others
  7. Drivers – those who take charge and take responsibility for getting results
  8. Arbitrators – those who bring people together and help them understand one another
  9. Perfectionists – those with high standards and ethics to ensure things are done well

Each role has its strengths and weaknesses, but the truth is you need all these roles filled (at the right times) for your venture to succeed.

Which role is your natural role? John Maxwell says in his Law of Magnetism that we tend to attract others just like us if we don’t find a way to connect people through a strong vision — something for them to have in common. What is your vision? How do you share it with others? Why not share your thoughts in the comment section? I would love to hear your perspective.

9 Leadership Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs by Martin Zwilling at entrepreneur.com.

 

Whose the Leader? You’re the Leader!

A recent blog post by The Mojo Company reminds us that You’re the Leader We Need.

I used to work for a management consulting company that had four core values, one of which was “Lead.”  Our president, Mike Nigro, explained to us that everybody was a leader because even the most junior project team member was there to help our clients understand their problems, options, and recommend solutions. Our actions also provided an example for our clients and team members. While our clients (and supervisors) might want the right to make decisions, decision-making is not the hallmark of a leader. Influencing those who will make decisions is what leadership is all about.

As the Mojo article reminds us, we don’t need to be charismatic or outgoing to be a leader. Rather, leaders are people who can do the hard work of being an example and working to grow the team. People willing to change and grow.

All of this is part and parcel of what my mentor John Maxwell shares in his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

Are you willing to be an example? To change and grow? Your organization, your team needs you to. You can lead at some level. Will you?

 

You’re the Leader We Need at The Mojo Company

How to succeed in networking without really trying (too hard)

The title got my attention: The Lazy Way to Build Relationships. A mentor years ago made the point that he was “ambitiously lazy” — he always sought the way to be most effective in everything he did so be wouldn’t have to work any harder than he had to. The first thoughts were that the author, Jun Loayza, would rather do a lot of things and not network, yet he still is able to expand his network weekly. Jun’s secret? He doesn’t really seek to network, but create relationships. How? Here are his key steps:

  • Find your why. Leaders know why they are doing things and can explain that to others. Give people a reason to connect with you.
  • Ask Friends for introductions. When you know and can share your why, your friends will know people who could be mutually beneficial to know. Ask them. Also, check your connections’ LinkedIn accounts. If you see people who can help you, ask your connections for the introduction.
  • Use tools like Skype to be personal yet effective. We are busy people. Breaking up the day for out od office meetings is not always the most effective use of your time. Skype, FaceTime, or other tools, while not as good as live meetings, are a great way to balance the need for face theme with the need to be productive at the office. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have lunch or coffee with others, but make sure Thet payoff is worth the interruption.
  • Make yourself available. If people can’t get hold of you, you cannot build relationships. You will need to balance access and interruption, but being available and accessible is allows you to strengthen connections into real relationships.

The Lazy Way to Build Relationships at The Personal Branding Blog

Innovation is a Leadership Challenge

Scott Anthony knows a thing or two about innovation. The managing partner of an innovation consulting company and Harvard Business Review (HBR) blogger. He often comments about innovation issues.

His recent post, Your Innovation Problem is Really a Leadership Problem, talks about the leader’s critical role in establishing repeatable processes for innovation in their organizations. Innovation scares people. It is unnatural. Because we don’t often practice it, we are not especially good at it. Scott also points out that innovation requires leaders manage in two opposing directions: to minimize mistakes yet encourage experimentation.

This should not be any surprise. A leader’s number one responsibility is to define the organizations vision and keep it moving toward it. Innovation is not a quick and easy, short-term project. As Scott says, it isn’t a point event. Leaders who succumb to short-term pressures and do not work with their teams to create, evaluate, and shepherd ideas that support the larger mission and vision will either be replaced by leaders who can, or see their organizations move toward irrelevance.

 

Your Innovation Problem is Really a Leadership Problem

Leaders with Superpowers

Michael Hyatt reminds us that leaders have the power to energize or deflate their teams. In his post 5 Ways to Energize Your Team, he tells the story of a great team deflated by the thoughtless actions of a leader. He also offers these 5 points:

  1. Assume others are smart and working hard.
  2. Listen intently and ask thoughtful questions.
  3. Acknowledge the sacrifices others have made on your behalf.
  4. Express gratitude for their effort and their results.
  5. Remind them why their work is so important and the difference they are making.

You do have super powers. How are you going to use them?

5 Ways to Energize Your Team

Like Lincoln or McClellan?

Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing wrote about Lincoln’s wins and losses as a leader following his watching Steven Spielburg’s Lincoln and reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln wrote about Lincoln’s biggest mistake when picking leaders, George McClellan. While McClellan was beloved by his troops, Hyatt notes 5 flaws of the general:

  1. Hesitating to take definitive action
  2. Complaining about a lack of resources
  3. Refusing to take responsibility
  4. Abusing the privileges of leadership
  5. Engaging in acts of insubordination

Yes, even leaders have to submit to authority, to be accountable to somebody at some time.

As Hyatt asks at the end of his post, “Do you have any of these flaws in your own leadership? What can you do to correct them now-while you still have time?” The good news is that you can deal with these problems and avoid your own Civil War failure.

You can go to his post and leave comments, or you can leave them here.